PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins' search for a new general manager has taken a somewhat unexpected turn.
The Fenway Group, who owns the Penguins, are believed to have been granted permission to speak with ex-Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.
On Friday, Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan announced the club decided to part ways with Dubas.
It was a surprising decision, especially after it seemed the two sides were on the way to reaching an agreement on a contract extension.
As Hunter Hodies of Locked on Penguins points out, Dubas had said he'd either be back in Toronto or take a step back next season. However, the conversation may have changed in Pittsburgh and for Dubas because of how things ended in Toronto.
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For his part, Dubas released the following statement Tuesday via Twitter:
Eric Tulsky of the Carolina Hurricanes has been considered one of the favorites to land the Penguins job, and, as Hodies discusses, there could be a scenario where both Dubas and Tulsky end up in Pittsburgh, with the former serving as head of hockey operations and the latter jumping on as general manager.
For the Penguins, adding two of the brightest minds in hockey would indeed be a feat.
One of the reasons it's believed it didn't work out in Toronto for Dubas is the lack of full autonomy in terms of making decisions and having to answer to Shanahan. As president of hockey operations, that wouldn't be an issue, and that could certainly entice Dubas to make the move to Pittsburgh.
It won't be an easy task getting the Penguins back into Stanley Cup contention, although they remain relevant as long as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang are in the mix.
At any rate, the Penguins have permission to speak to Dubas, and the puck is now on his stick, so to speak.